Eco Trips & Trails
Paddling The Outer Banks
In contrast to many developed beach resort areas along the east coast, the Outer Banks of North Carolina remain relatively pristine. Thus, the environment and wildlife of the area make it ideal for exploring by sea kayak – and Kitty Hawk Kayaks is an ideal company to help you get paddling.
Kitty Hawk Kayaks was the original kayak company on the Outer Banks. They continue to add new tours and programs that offer a unique form of adventurous exploration opportunities in this extraordinary ecosystem.
Sea kayaking has become one of the most popular ways for wandering around the watery world. The kayaks are surprisingly stable and easy to maneuver. A small amount of instruction from the friendly guides is usually all that is needed. Kitty Hawk Kayaks uses comfortable and stable open cockpit kayaks, as well as closed cockpit versions for longer trips and cooler weather. Anyone 12 or older can paddle their own kayaks, but the company does offer special tandem kayaks for children and adults to paddle together (it makes a great family adventure).
Kitty Hawk Kayaks currently offers more than a half-dozen different touring sites and options, as well as sea kayak lessons, rentals, and sales (the company also features popular surfing lessons and camps, as well as surf kayaking). Along with the day-trips from the spring to the fall, there are also special overnight trips and even outings during the winter.
The most popular tour remains the Kitty Hawk Woods Coastal Reserve Maritime Forest Tour. It departs from the company’s shop in Kitty Hawk and is great for children, families, first-timers, and windy days (trees protect the waterway from wind). The Roanoke Island Tour is also quite popular. It includes paddling along charming Manteo’s historic waterfront. One of the most pristine tours is the Alligator River National Wildlife Tour. A wealth of history surrounds these 150,000 acres, from the days of a booming lumber town to the current red wolf revival project. Black bears, white-tailed deer, red wolves, and alligators dwell here. There are also Full Moon and Sunset tours (sunset tours are also offered out of Corolla and Roanoke Island).
The Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge Salt Marsh Tour visit’s the salt marshes on the sound side of Pea Island. Wildlife spottings might include pelicans, herons, ospreys, egrets, and much more (including migrating ducks in winter). The company started a new Purple Martin Paddle as well. The prime east coast roosting spot features tens of thousands of purple martins returning to their roosts at dusk.
Overnight trips explore areas along the Roanoke, Cashie, and Chowan rivers, with camping on platforms accessed only by kayaks. Highlights include the Roanoke River National Wildlife Refuge and the newly-formed Palmetto-Peartree Preserve. The overnight tours are open to any paddlers with some experience and lots of interest in the Outer Banks.
Kitty Hawk Kayaks offers a unique and adventurous way to spend a day (or more) at the beach.
For more information, contact them at 6150 North Croatan Highway, Kitty Hawk, NC 27949, (252) 261-0145 or (866) 702-5061, www.khkss.com.
by Lynn Seldon
by Lynn Seldon
added: July 28, 2009
updated: July 31, 2009